Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dan West: World Traveler

In 1959, Dan and Lucy West and son Steve took a trip around the world after Dan's retirement. They traveled some 43,000 miles to 30 countries in about ten months. Steve earned his own money and Dan sold a portion of his farm to a neighbor in order to finance the trip. From a tape made at a reunion in 1960, we have some comments on this around-the-world trip.

"We found good people everywhere we went and some of our friends and some Brethren. ... Glad we have people carrying the Gospel in their own way. Wish we had more doing that."

"Couldn't get permission to go into China and it might not have been the healthiest for everyone if we had gone. However, I do not think we can continue to insist that China does not exist. What to do next is not clear, but I think we have not recognized them officially sometimes. I'd like to see the Heifer Project put some cattle in there and help them.... I think the common people are to be trusted under everybody's government, and I think we had better make friends with those people or otherwise we'll kill each other off."

Dan's charisma was evident everywhere they went. The whole trip was full of people and places, not just people one meets as a tourist, but farmer and peasant types who genuinely appreciate the help of the Heifer Project International.

In a letter Dan wrote to a friend, he reported, "It was a good trip we three took around the world, but like a cow out on heavy pasture I need some time to chew my cud and digest it. That is happening, and it brings new meaning to some events on the trip. But it makes me both grateful and critical of what we have and have not done in the USA. My job now is to keep my home base on our farm (and do a little work to keep fit) but also to reach out to a world in the making."

Source: Passing on the Gift: The story of Dan West, Glee Yoder